Reminders about Medical Advice + including E-mail Addresses

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Bob Webtech
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Reminders about Medical Advice + including E-mail Addresses

Post by Bob Webtech »

During the past few days, I received inquiries concerning two issues involving usage of our discussion boards. The first inquiry was about users asking for and dispensing medical advice. The second involved postings that include somebody's e-mail address in the message body. I'll comment on both issues here. I am posting this message in both the General Ostomy Discussion forum and the Help Using the Discussion Board forum.

Medical Advice: A discussion board of this sort cannot be relied on as a source of medical advice, meaning advice that pertains to any particular person's medical situation. See the disclaimer in our Terms and Conditions. Posters are free to describe their own experience. Those in a position to know may present information on the current state of medical knowledge. But nobody can diagnose an individual's unique medical problems based on their description posted on a discussion board. There is no substitute for thorough examination by qualified medical personnel. In cases where it seems someone has posted questions that they should have asked their doctor, the only appropriate response on this kind of board is to advise them to see their doctor.

Including E-mail Addresses: There are two problems when posters include an e-mail address in the body of a posting. First, if the address belongs to someone other than yourself (for example, if you're trying to be helpful by providing a doctor's or nurse's e-mail address), there's a privacy issue: Do you have that person's permission, or are you sure they want their e-mail address made public this way? In fact, according to our Terms and Conditions, posting someone's e-mail address without their permission can be considered grounds for banning you from our discussion board! The other problem is that e-mail addresses entered normally (with @ sign) in the body of a posting are vulnerable to harvesting by the automated software with which spammers are always scanning the web. Therefore, as suggested in my earlier message about use of e-mail addresses, any such address in the body of a message should be written in a modified form, such as "username AT example DOT com" so it won't be recognized as an e-mail address by the spammers' software. This is especially important if you're providing someone else's e-mail address (which shouldn't be done at all unless you have that person's permission, as stated above).
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